Hippo Manchester
October 6, 2005

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Seu Jorge, Cru

Wrasse Records, 2005

***1/2

by Amy Diaz

It takes a strong voice to sing softly.

On Cru, Seu Jorge turns in tracks that lull and romance you with warm, seductive melodies played without hurry. Frequently supported by little more than a guitar and a beat as gentle as champagne bubbles, Jorge manages to prevent his love songs (or frequently just songs that sound lovely) from ever sounding wispy or insubstantive. A cover of Elvis Presley’s “Don’t” is bare and quiet but still solid — Jorge’s voice moves like molasses.

Other songs like the standout “Eu Sou Favela” bring in the barest of samba beats. In that particular track, the lively nature of the Rio slums is translated into sort of a Sunday morning stillness, with beats sounding almost like ambient noises and Jorge’s voice (more up-tempo in this song) serving as a tour through his neighborhood.